07 May 2009

Acupuncture and Questions Answered

I swear to God I love those needles!! When you're a kid, ready to scream every time some doctor comes at you with what looks to be the largest syringe in the history of histories, you have no way of knowing you will grow up to appreciate being a human pincushion later in life.

I called my acupuncturist last week, thinking I'd go in to tackle the inflammation in my knee, lower leg and foot. By the time I got there today, I was a mess. Everything was wrong. Everything. My knee had begun to hurt quite a bit yesterday and continued to do so today. My hips ache from limping. My whole being felt bad. When you feel horrible physically, your attitude is sure to follow. And it did. I was in a bad way. Then the needles were put to work, not only on my knee issues but also on some adrenal issues (for reasons unknown to me). All I know is by the time I left an hour later, the world was a much nicer place. At some point during the session, my foot started twitching. When I asked what that was about, I was told energy was being released. I don't profess to understand why acupuncture works. I just know that it does. I've turned to it on many occasions to fix problems that Western medicine would attack with drugs. I even turned my mom onto acupuncture. Shockingly enough, she admitted it worked and credits it with fixing a neck problem her doctors could not solve. Here's where I go:

Inner Chi Traditional Chinese Medicine

tres_arboles asked quite a few questions and I'm going to answer them here rather than in a comment. Again, I'm blogging about this knee in an effort to leave a paper trail, so to speak, of information for people who need more information about knee replacement.

With regard to the pain meds, I wasn't in either of the two camps you list. My fear of becoming addicted to them was minimal and I did not believe I should be able to handle the knee replacement pain. For me it was a matter of trying to feel as good as I could. The pain meds made me so nauseous that they scared me. I truly believe that one heals better when one is physically strong. In my mind, you can't maintain your strength, let alone gain any additional strength, if you're not eating. I could not eat at all on the pain meds. I could not poop on the pain meds either. I felt like those two facts alone were good enough reasons to stop the Vicodin. I was more worried about feeling worse, rather than better, while on those meds.

Yes, my surgeon is insistent that you move around after knee replacement, but they all are. That joint cannot remain static. When I blew out my knee the first time, I was in a full leg cast for months after I injured the leg. Then, once I came home for the surgery, I was in a full leg cast again. That knee did not move at all. I think the medical establishment has finally figured out that this was not necessarily the proper way to treat a knee injury. With that said, I saw my surgeon yesterday. He admonished me to take it slowly, to show some restraint, reminding me that this surgery is traumatic for the body. In other words, he was making sure I understood not to push it too hard too quickly. He need not worry about that because this shit hurts. Who wants to push through this kind of pain? I can't. I don't know what's necessary pain and what's unacceptable pain. I've got no choice but to carefully follow the recommendations of my physical therapist, who I will see for the first time tomorrow.

I have no idea which knee I got. Prior to surgery, I hadn't realized there were several on the market. I don't really care about that stuff though. The reason why I was looking for a surgeon I trusted, one who understood who I am, is because I was fine letting him decide how best to approach this surgery. I mean, you could give me a list of all of the knees and tell me what they do. That doesn't mean I know which one to pick. Perhaps there are certain quirks different artificial knees have that only a surgeon would know. I left that up to my doctor. He's an athlete. He knew I wouldn't take "slow down" for an answer. Whichever knee it is, I'm certain it will be fine for surfing, swimming, cycling and lifting.

As for sites, I did a Google search almost every day for two weeks, learning as much about knee replacement as I could. The search wasn't all that helpful. Most knee replacement patients are senior citizens. You find very little information about younger patients. (Again, that's why I'm attempting to record this experience in my blog.) Some sites said patients could expect to be on a walker for six weeks. Six weeks? I was off the cane in about two weeks. El Hefe had hip replacement in his 20's. That's not even close to being a common occurrence. You just don't see much on the internet about people under, say, 55 or (usually) older getting a joint replaced.

I'm not back in the pool yet. My doctor did give me the go-ahead for that. I'm not ready. I'll probably start going back next week, using the pull buoy for about 20 minutes and perhaps walking in the pool too.

This is experience is not for the meek. But then again, neither is bone on bone pain. Once you've lived through that, anything that promises to rid one of that is more than worth it. As hard as this is to go through, I'd do it again in a heartbeat.


At 5/7/09, 9:10 PM, Blogger Christian said...

Your knee might cause you discomfort when you pop up. I hate paddling. It makes my thrashed shoulders hurt.

I have a solution: tow-in surfing. You and me can be a tow team and we'll never paddle or pop up again. We'll just whip each other into cavernous barrels all day long. We'll spend so much time getting shacked that we won't bother with sunscreen.

And screw wetsuits. We'll tow in only at places where the water is at least 70 degrees.

Now I just have to figure out a way to finance it. Anyone know of any sponsors?

At 5/14/09, 11:35 AM, Blogger tres_arboles said...

Thank you so much for filling in some blanks. I am in your debt.



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